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Ecological Section

Baker, Jennifer [1], Antlfinger, Ann [1].

The Effect of Light Treatments on Cultivated American Ginseng Growth.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is an herbaceous perennial which prefers the heterogeneous light habitat provided by mid- to- late successional deciduous forest. Cultivation for industry commonly occurs in a homogenous shade environment ranging from 5%-20% of ambient light levels. The purpose of this study was to test if variation in light intensity affected growth and survival. Three-year old cultivated ginseng plants were grown under six light treatments. Light treatments varied in the amount of light available and by the heterogeneity of the light. Morphological measurements were used to indicate plant response. Plant height, stem weight, root length and relative chlorophyll were all significantly increased by light level. Exposure to homogeneous light levels produced significantly longer roots and heavier flowers. Leaf and prong area did not show a significant change but followed the trend of largest leaf areas in moderate and homogenous light and the smallest in low, heterogeneous light. Chlorophyll a, b and total decreased as light-level increased but were not significant. At the end of the experimental growing season, survival was similar among light treatments. Although American ginseng is a shade-adapted species, it was tolerant of relatively high light levels (29% full sun) in this experiment. For the morphological traits that showed significant differences among light treatments, the middle light-level (7-19% full sun) and a homogenous shade environment were optimal. Understanding the conditions required for P. quinquefolius establishment will help preserve natural populations and improve cultivation methods for the ginseng industry.

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1 - University of Nebraska Omaha, Department of Biology, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, Nebraska, 68182-0040, USA

American ginseng
light quantity.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 47-7
Location: Salon F - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
Time: 11:45 AM
Abstract ID:306

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